Above All Else, Guard Your Heart!
Generous living is an expression of our freedom in Christ and it springs from our trust in the Lord. A generous lifestyle goes well beyond the money issue, but it can never avoid it. Getting and spending money shapes our daily lives in very tangible ways, so being honest about this topic is of crucial importance for every Christian. This mini-series seeks to bring to our attention how our faith and our trust interact at a very practical level: making money well and spending it wisely.
Above all else, guard your heart!
We deal with money everyday, one way or another. It is a significant part of our worldly existence, because money is at the intersection of material and immaterial, of present and future, of actual and potential. This intersection is the realm of decisions, therefore how we relate to money and possessions is a spiritual matter. It truly is a heart issue.
When I speak of the heart, I am simply pointing to the most common anthropological term in the Bible. It denotes a person's decision centre, the inner forum where deliberation takes place and decisions are formed. The heart is spoken of in Scripture as the seat of will, feelings and affections. Here a person engages in self-talk: by managing this mix of reasons and feelings, we plan and make commitments that shape our attitudes, our decisions and the way we live.
Scripture is clear on this:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 14:10)
Our heart is where our allegiances are formed and forged. I’m speaking of our true allegiances. I’m talking faith, not belief. What you love most dictates how you live. The ‘distance’ between mind and heart is the interval on which our faith is being measured and our integrity tested. The mind is capable of belief, which is propositional, articulated, and somewhat coherent — ‘our head theology’, but only the heart is truly capable of faith.
Our ‘head theology’ gets articulated.
Our ‘heart theology’ gets applied.
We live by it. It is what moves us into action.
I often find that it’s easier for me to claim that I trust God for ultimate things (salvation and eternity) or important life goals (being a good husband, raising my kids well) than to actually trust God in the here and now: getting and spending money. How we relate to finances and material possessions might be a better proxy for our level of trust in God than we’d like to admit.
Jesus said it plainly: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
Love and hate, devotion and disdain are heart issues. What gets our hearts rules our lives. It simply flows from it. In the coming WorkWise pieces in this series we’ll take a closer look at practical ways in which we can guard our hearts against the insidious temptation to fall in love with money.